Two men jailed for robbing pizza delivery man


Two men who robbed a pizza delivery man in Hertford were found by the police having just tucked into the stolen meal.

James Whittaker, 25, and his friend Ben Lobb, 23, had finished the £30 pizza and chicken wing meal from Domino's when officers arrived at a flat in Lawrence Close, Hertford.

The knife used to rob delivery driver Asad Miah, 20, was also in the room, along with his money bag and empty food boxes, St Albans Crown Court heard today, Friday, 25 April 2014.

David Chrimes prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Mr Miah had been called to make the delivery at about 7pm at night. He was concerned because a colleague had been robbed in the Lawrence Close area on an earlier occasion.

Mr Miah did not want to go into the flats and called the mobile number of the person who had made the order. At that point, said Mr Chrimes, Whittaker appeared at the driver's side car door. He wound down the window and told him the price before reaching into the back of the car to fetch the meal. When he turned round the driver was confronted by a knife with a 9 inch blade that was touching his neck.

Whittaker said: "Give me the pizza. I have no problem with you. Give me the Domino money." Lobb appeared at the passenger side of the vehicle and tried to get in, but the door was locked.  The men escaped with the food and Mr Miah's money bag that contained around £19.

Mr Chrimes said the police were quickly on the scene and located the men in Lawrence Court. "The defendants had tucked into the proceeds of the robbery and were caught red-handed," he said. The phone used to make the call to Domino's had been lent to Whittaker by a woman friend.

Whittaker of Hollycroft, Hertford and Lobb of Rose Court, Baker Street, Hertford pleaded guilty to robbing Asad Miah on 22 December last year. Whittaker admitted possessing a knife.

For Whittaker, Steven Garrett said he had been admitted to hospital on 13 occasions for self-harm. "He had made efforts to take his own life. He has experienced homelessness and drug addiction."  But he said since being remanded in custody, his client had expressed a desire to be free of drugs. He asked for credit for his early guilty plea.

Duncan Jones, for Lobb, said:  "At the time, he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine." He said his role was secondary, and that Lobb had started work as a labourer.

Judge Andrew Bright QC jailed Whittaker for 3 years and Lobb for 2 years 4 months. He told them they had put Mr Miah "in great fear." The judge went on: "Knifepoint robberies of vulnerable victims are all too frequent and these offences have to be punished by the court."

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